Mon, Jun 16, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Birdlovers protect rare birds nest from poachers

By Yang Yi-min and Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A Maroon oriole, a protected bird species, feeds its young in a tree in the Renshan Botanical Gardens car park in Yilan County on Friday.

Photo: Yang Yi-min, Taipei Times

A recent sighting in Yilan of the protected Maroon orioles (Oriolus traillii) has prompted birdwatchers to stake out the site against poachers.

With the news that a family of orioles was nesting in a pomelo tree in Renshan Parking Lot in Yilan County’s Dongshan Township (冬山), bird-lovers rushed to the site with cameras.

They took shifts standing guard over the rare visitors.

According to Yilan Photography Society chairperson Lee Lung-yung (李龍墉) the number of Maroon oriole families in Yilan is decreasing.

In previous sightings, after poachers were tipped off about the location of the rare birds, they stole the fledglings even before they were old enough to fly their nests, Lee said.

To prevent a recurrence this time, bird-lovers took shifts from Wednesday to Friday standing guard after dark, before they were able to hire a security firm to take over.

According to Lee, so far this year three Maroon oriole nests have been spotted.

One was vandalized by other birds, forcing the orioles to leave their home, while the other was pushed out of the tree by squirrels.

The fledglings did not survive, despite receiving treatment.

The remaining family in Renshan Parking Lot, consists of two adults and four young.

Over the past few days, bird enthusiasts have tried to capture these beloved birds in action.

Photographers have spoken at low volumes and stayed outside a cordon set up to protect the birds.

While the fledglings usually leave their nests in 14 days, Lee said the adult birds may speed up the process under pressure from so many cameras.

Bird enthusiasts have said that they plan to stay until the fledglings’ make their maiden flights.

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